Some schools have an easy rail ride to the aquarium. Others don't.
Some can travel comfortably to the Arboretum. Others can't.
But just about all the schools we work with regularly can get downtown, either via a subway or light rail ride, or aboard one of the many buses that descend on the central city from points south, east, west and north.
Better still, the abundance of downtown transit options makes it easy to chain trip destinations. Teachers book back-to-back, same day trips to (for instance) the Japanese American Museum and Olvera Street, the Wells Fargo History Museum and the Central Library, Olvera Street and the Chinese New Years Parade, and so on.
- Los Angeles Public Library
- Two blocks from either the Seventh Street Metro or Pershing Square Red Line station is the city's largest public library, which offers a mere quarter of a million books for kids, a special "Teenscape" wing for the high school set, and theatrical performances or puppet shows on Saturday afternoons. Elementary schools can book combination docent tour and storytelling sessions here on Mondays, Thursday and Fridays. We're here often, and should be.
- Wells Fargo History Museum
- Sadly, this gleaming tribute to the nineteenth century West is open only on weekdays. Visitors can gawk at a real stagecoach, and children can ride in a convincing imitation. There's a walk-in replica of an 1800s Wells Fargo banking office, where kids can tap out their names on a morse code machine, plus murals, posters, gold ingots in display cases, and lots more.
- Olvera Street
- Los Angeles' birthplace, with the artifacts to show for it, and all directly across the street from Union Station. Visit the Avila Adobe, the oldest house in the city; Jedediah Smith stayed here! Nearby is Sepulveda House, the Fire House Museum, and La Placita, the first Catholic church in the city.
- Japanese American National Museum
- A jewel-like museum in the heart of Little Tokyo, a five block
stroll (okay, hike) from the Red Line Civic Center station. More for adults than for kids, but the exhibit on the World War II internment of Japanese Americans is well-worthwhile for children ages ten and up. The nearby Japanese Village Plaza is worth a look-see, too.
- Chinatown doesn't offer a museum, a center, or a big library. The thing to do here is to just get out and w-a-l-k, especially now that the Gold Line stops at Spring and College. The streets and storefronts are an education in themselves (although teachers and other youth group leaders may want to book a tour through the Chinese Historical Society.)
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